Ending a marriage can take time and it may take some help. Reaching a divorce settlement through the negotiations process is not always possible. Alabama residents who struggle to end their marriages by working out divorce terms on their own or with just the assistance of legal counsel may need a judge to issue a final ruling on the matter. This is called a contested divorce.
A contested divorce starts out just like any other divorce filing. One spouse needs to file for divorce, the other needs to respond and then they can attempt to work out a fair and balanced settlement agreement. If negotiations are going nowhere, they can move their case to court. How long it takes to go to trial depends on the court's schedule. Family courts are often backed up with cases, so going this route could prolong the divorce process.
During the trial, both spouses will have the opportunity to present their case. They can share with the judge what the issues are and how they believe they should be resolved. They can call witnesses to help their side of things. When all is said and done, the judge will get to decide how the issues at hand should be handled and issue the divorce decree. If either spouse disagrees with the court-ordered settlement terms, it may be possible to have them changed by filing post-trial motions or an appeal.
The goal for most Alabama residents who are filing for divorce is to get the whole process over with as quickly as possible while, at the same time, receiving settlement terms that serve their best interests. It is possible to meet that goal if both parties are willing to be open and honest in their communication and they have the willingness to negotiate. For those who find that is not the case in their situation, legal counsel can help them prepare to present their case at trial.